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4 min read

The 8 Things You Need To Get The Perfect Pet Photo

There are 24 million pets in Australia. That’s as many pets as people! Of that there are nearly 5 million dogs and 4 million cats. It is no wonder pets are one of our most popular social media uploads and that many of our pets have their own social media presence.

So what do you need to do to take a great pet photo?  


Use the best phone or camera that is available to you. We see plenty of great shots that are unusable because the focus is just too soft and the photo too grainy. Each newer model phone comes with a camera upgrade so a newer model phone or a digital camera does put you at a major advantage. Does someone you know have a great phone? Why not ask if you can borrow it and text or email the photos to yourself.  Beg, Borrow or Steal. Actually, don’t steal or beg, you are better than that!

Large group of paparazzi taking photos

Chances are your phone has been rolling around in your bag or pocket. Be sure to clean the phone’s lens from time to time otherwise your pics will be blurry.  Think twice about using the camera zoom unless you are on some decent equipment.  You can lose photo quality.  Instead move forward and get closer to your pet.

Relax and have fun

Is your pet relaxed with the phone or camera? Take the time to let your pet get used to the camera as you would with any toy or object you are introducing to your pet. With cats keeping your distance maybe the best strategy! 

Don’t forget to relax yourself. Your pet knows what’s up with you.

Get rid of clutter first

Don’t forget the background. People see everything in the frame. Think about the whole shot and keep it simple and visually appealing. As an example rubbish bins and dirty clothes unless meaningful to the shot e.g. "laundry shot" will just be a visual distraction. Do a 30 second room clean or swing the phone/ camera to another angle to avoid the mess. 

Behind that amazing shot you have just liked is probably some scene and pre shot preparation.

Focus On Eyes And Expressions

OK, now you are ready to shoot. Most, but not all of the great pet photos have facial expressions in the frame. Eye engagement with the camera is particularly captivating. Otherwise, action or amazing scenic shots are definitely winners.

Shoot In Their World

Shots from the pets point of view can work really well so don’t be afraid to get on the floor or shoot from their pet bed to get down to your pets level. Different perspectives and angles can really add interest to a shot so it is always good to think about trying a few different ways of capturing the moment. Experiment. 

Go Where The Light Is Best

The best conditions are for natural light and with the light behind you and on the subject. Use the instant feedback that we get from digital photos to check on photo quality. Too dark, shadows on your pet? If so even during the day turn on all the lights or move your pet to the natural light. Use treats and bribery if you have to.

Work With Your Pet

This is the best part of pet photography! Fact: You are the best person in the world to take photos of your pet. As your pets most trusted human you are bound to get the best interactions and shots.

Zoolander Bluesteel

Your pet will feed off you so if you want playful… be playful, if you want that "Zoolander" Blue Steel look then keep calm and quiet.

Is your pet already in a perfect position? Great, be discreet and take some natural shots.

So those photos that you enjoy or are getting all the likes. Take a closer look at the shot.  How is it framed and what is the pet doing in the shot? Is it eyeballing the camera with the eyes in clear focus? How are colour, light, shadow, focus and angle being used? These great photos will give you plenty of ideas for your own shots.

What’s the Story?

You should by now have some great shots.  If you plan to post your photos to social media, pick your favourite shots that you think people will enjoy. For social media newbies be sure to tell a short but captivating story that tells the viewer what is happening in a cheeky or funny way. Try to highlight the personality of your pet that people may not know. Tell the story behind the shot and pet rather than what is obvious to people looking at your photo.

*Pet Ownership Data 


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